Georgia Democrat Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock praised communist Cuban dictator Fidel Castor, who is responsible for tens of thousands of brutal state murders, in a sermon in 2016 days after the dictator passed away. A recently resurfaced video from 2016 shows Warnock behind his church’s podium, giving a eulogy for the authoritarian to his congregation.
“We pray for the people of Cuba in this moment. We remember Fidel Castro, whose legacy is complex. Don’t let anyone tell you a simple story; life usually isn’t very simple. His legacy is complex, kind of like America’s legacy is complex,” Warnock said.
“While we focus on political prisoners in Cuba, you saw the folks standing here this morning,” he continued. “If some people get slapped on the hand for the same crime and others go to federal prison, then we too have our own political prisons because politics more than the crime politics of race and class. And in that sense, many of us have sisters and brothers who are political prisoners. We are about to pray to a man who was a political prisoner.”
Weeks before the video resurfaced, Warnock told CNN’s Jake Tapper he had never “celebrated” the foreign tyrant.
“Do you understand why people would be appalled by anyone celebrating Fidel Castro?”
“Well, absolutely, and I never have,” Warnock said.
Warnock also received pushback after it was revealed that he was the youth pastor at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York when it hosted and praised Castro at what the Miami Herald labeled a “lovefest.” Warnock’s campaign says he did not have a say in the decision to welcome Castro to the church.
“Radical liberal Raphael Warnock has not only celebrated a communist, murderous dictator, but he’s tried to mislead Georgians about it,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Nathan Brand. “Voters continue to be appalled at Warnock’s praise of dictators, his celebration of Marxism, and his antisemitic and anti-American remarks. There is no question that Warnock is too radical for Georgia.”
Republican Sen. David Perdue’s communications director released a statement calling on Perdue’s Democrat opponent Jon Osoff to condemn his fellow Democrat Senate candidate’s celebration of Castro.
“Jon Ossoff sells himself as morally superior, but when you peel back the layers of his message-tested cocoon, he is exactly the opposite,” said Perdue spokesman John Burke. “He’s eager to campaign with radical liberals like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Raphael Warnock, but he won’t answer for their extremism and the media isn’t holding him accountable. Ossoff must make it clear: Does he agree with his running mate’s praise of Fidel Castro?”
Warnock also came under fire after reports resurfaced of his involvement in a 2002 child abuse investigation. The New Georgia Project, an organization founded by failed 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and formerly led by Warnock, is under investigation for allegedly sending ballot applications to people who don’t live in Georgia.